Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Atletico Madrid complete Morata loan signing

AFP, MADRID

Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement with Chelsea for the loan signing of Alvaro Morata until the end of next season, the two clubs said on Monday.

The striker, who had a disappointing time at Stamford Bridge, passed his medical on Sunday, the Spanish side, his first club, said in a statement on its Web site.

“I’m very happy and proud to be here. I can’t wait to start training, meet my new teammates and play,” Morata said.

Morata, 26, played in Atletico’s youth ranks as a teenager, but later joined their city rivals Real Madrid in 2008, where he enjoyed two separate spells either side of a move to Juventus.

Some of Atletico’s fans have not forgotten the player’s links to Real, with a minority even chanting against his arrival during the team’s La Liga victory over Getafe on Saturday.

“Their opinion is respectable and people can say what they want,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said after the match. “I look for players that serve the club and the team.”

After an impressive start at Chelsea, Morata lost form and confidence. He scored 24 goals in 74 appearances for the English club since signing from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017.

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri admitted last week that the Spanish forward had requested to leave at the start of this month.

“Sarri’s preference for using Eden Hazard as a central striker during the last couple of months, however, has restricted Morata’s involvement,” Chelsea said in a statement.

“We wish Alvaro the very best of luck for his loan period,” it added.

Morata will bolster Simeone’s options up front, which already include the in-form French striker Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa, another signing from Chelsea, who is expected back from injury next month.

“With Morata’s arrival, we add a very talented striker to our club, who has the ability to score with his feet and his head thanks to his height,” Atletico said in a statement.

Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic, who joined Atletico in August, could be allowed to leave.

Atletico, who are second in La Liga, have already allowed Portuguese winger Gelson Martins, 23, to join Ligue 1 AS Monaco on loan until the end of the season.

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